Every SEC school’s best sport outside of football


While Kentucky men’s basketball and Tennessee women’s basketball may be no-brainers, there are several other programs that have more than held their own in the championship hardware department across the SEC. Swimming and diving and tennis are just two sports where multiple SEC teams excel nationally. But what are the other sports that bring home the rings and trophies?

Without considering football, here’s where we think each SEC school does its best work.


Women’s gymnastics: The Crimson Tide has won nine SEC titles, and the women have made it to the Super Six 22 times of their 34 NCAA Tournament appearances. Alabama has claimed six national titles, with the most recent being in 2012. The Crimson Tide is currently ranked No. 6 in the land behind fellow SEC foes LSU and Florida.


Men’s indoor track & field: Led primarily by coach John McDonnell, Arkansas is one of two schools (UTEP) in NCAA history to win the cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field championships in the same year. Arkansas has done it five times. McDonnell’s national championships include streaks of 12 consecutive indoor titles from 1984-1995, eight consecutive outdoor titles from 1992-1999, four consecutive cross country titles from 1990-1993 and four consecutive indoor titles from 1997-2000. Between 1984 and 2000, Arkansas won 16 of 17 national championships. The men and women last month won the SEC indoor track and field championships.


Swimming and diving: The Tigers count 13 NCAA championships among men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams. The men’s team won five national titles in a row starting in 2003, and then again in 2009, and 18 SEC titles. The women’s team has won five national titles since 2002, along with five SEC titles.


Swimming and diving: Florida’s men and women both lead the SEC. The men have 37 SEC titles, with the most recent being 2016. The women have 17 SEC titles, with the most recent being in 2009. The men have two national titles and the women have three. The Gators have also produced 85 Olympic swimmers, and including coaches and divers, the program has 32 gold medals. This season, 13 Gators were invited to the men’s NCAA championship, fourth-most in the country.


Men’s tennis: The conference bar is often set by the Bulldogs. They have eight national championships (six outdoor, two indoor), and 37 SEC titles (28 regular season, 9 tournament) and have made 36 NCAA Tournament appearances. There have been 46 Bulldogs who have earned individual All-America honors 91 times, and nine NCAA champions since 1983.


Men’s basketball: Nothing outside of possibly Alabama football compares to Kentucky basketball, and that’s even a hearty debate. The Wildcats have won the SEC Tournament 30 times, and for perspective. Alabama, ironically, has won the second most SEC Tournaments at six. Kentucky has made 57 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have eight national titles, which is second only to UCLA, and have made 17 Final Fours. They’re currently ranked No. 11 in the country, one of five SEC teams ranked.


Softball: LSU is the reigning national champion and has played in five Women’s College World Series — in 2001, 2004, 2012, 2015 and 2016. LSU has 18 total championships, including nine SEC Western Division titles along with five SEC regular season and five SEC Tournament crowns. LSU is currently ranked No. 12 in the country, but behind four SEC teams.


Baseball: The Bulldogs have claimed 24 SEC titles in baseball, including last year’s regular season title, and the tournament title in 2012. They made a 35th postseason appearance last year, and last year they made a 12th appearance in a regional. They also have nine appearances in the College World Series, most recently in 2013.


Wrestling: Mizzou is the only SEC team that currently competes in NCAA wrestling, and the Tigers compete in the Mid-Atlantic Conference. They have seven national champions, 64 All-Americans and five consecutive conference titles. Missouri was ranked No. 10 in the most recent poll this season.


Men’s tennis: The Rebels have won the SEC title in men’s tennis five times, and they have made 25 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Since 1995, the Rebels have been a mainstay among the best teams in the nation, advancing to the NCAA Final Four in 1997, 1999 and 2005. Ole Miss also has nine NCAA quarterfinal appearances and 16 Sweet Sixteen appearances. Within the program, there are two NCAA doubles finalists, five singles semifinalists and six doubles semifinalists.


Equestrian: Equestrian has only been an SEC-sponsored sport since 2013, but the Lady Gamecocks showed up ready for competition. The Gamecocks overall had two national titles before that (2005, 2007), and won again in 2015. South Carolina has won two of the three SEC titles in equestrian. They finished this regular season at 6-6.


Women’s basketball: The Lady Vols are a blue blood in women’s basketball. They far exceed every other SEC school with 18 SEC Championships and 17 SEC Tournament titles, though they fell in the second round this season. Tennessee has made 35 NCAA Tournament appearances and won eight titles.


Women’s soccer: The Aggies have 11 conference titles that span multiple conferences. Texas A&M has also made 22 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the Aggies finished 12-8-2. They earned a 22nd consecutive NCAA Championship bid and advanced to the second round for the 19th straight season.


Baseball: Among the players Vanderbilt has seen win the Golden Spikes or Player of the Year award are David Price, Dansby Swanson and Carson Fulmer. Since 2004, Vandy has been to the NCAA Tournament 13 times, including 11 straight, and the College World Series three times. The Commodores have six SEC titles and one national title, and last year the Commodores hosted regionals for the fifth time in six years and fourth straight season, which was the fourth consecutive season of 40-plus victories. In the last decade, they lead the country with 466 victories.

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  • LSU is not the reigning Women’s College Softball Champion, Oklahoma beat Michigan for the championship last year.

  • How in the HELL does this numbskull list ladies softball as LSU’s best sport outside of football??!! Um HELLO!! LSU has won 6 national titles in baseball and is the 2nd most successful program of all time behind Southern Cal (couldn’t list them as USC b/c the Gamecocks would take the credit…lol).

  • Absolutely criminal to not have baseball for LSU.

    Also equestrian is not an official NCAA sport so that shouldn’t really count for South Carolina

  • Baseball or women’s basketball for SC.

    • Absolutely!!! I’d say if you look at the last four years, it’s definitely Women’s basketball with three straight SEC titles and three straight Sweet Sixteen berths, and a Final Four. Baseball is huge for us too. The two National Championships in 2010 and 2011 definitely trump the Equestrian success have had.

  • Good story subject, thanks. Missouri Wrestling competes in the Mid America Conference, since withdrawing all sports from the big 12-4+2. Unexpected consequences, the wrestling program was on the rise in the big 12, and the move to the MAC didn’t slow that momentum down in any way. Missouri won the National Duals in 2016. Ben Askeren might have one of the all-time most Pins records. And J.Den Cox has three national titles and an Olympic Bronze Medal. It looks like Missouri will stay near the top of the rankings for a long time. Better than all that, a Mizzou wrestling match at the Hearnes Center or Jessie Hall is just pure fight excitement. It Ok if the SEC doesn’t wrestle because the Missouri schedule is really geared to get the team ready for the National Tournament anyway and that has been held in St. Louis, Missouri for a while now.

    • Also Coach Smith was just named 2017 National Coach of the Year. And Missouri is already assured of finishing very high in the tournament having 5 make the Quarter-finals and 3 in the Finals.

      • Wolf, What’s the word irt J’Den playing ILB this fall?

        • I expect him to be at football pracice every day. He has one of the all time great psychological mind sets in collegiate athletics. At least his public statements are convincing. Therefore even if he never plays a snap, it’s hard to imagine him not helping the program. They need to make him a player coach and assign him to tackling and personal psychological maintainance and off he field behavior. Vinci Lombardi couldn’t walk into program and have a more powerful license to recruit dedication and hard work. He upstages everyone who has not been a three-time NCAA Champ and Bronze medal winner. Coach Smith might be the only other human Columbia, MO anywhere close. Thanks for your awareness of Cox’s intentions and keeping us on the watch.

  • I feel sorry for Arkansas, UNC was given the game by the refs, that was Arkansas’ game to lose, that play was a charge & a walk, the refs should be suspended & fined for that call if I could do that.

  • This STUPID BS is hashed by Saturday Down SOuth every single freaking year. South Carolina has been one of the premier baseball schools in the country constantly being in the top 25 for almost 2 decades.

    Google ‘saturday down south every sec best sport outside of football’
    It’s like clockwork every year. Same stupid garbage is posted for clicks.
    BRETT WEISBAND | MAR 15, 2015 – Each SEC school’s best sport outside of football
    JESSI LEE | MAR 14, 2016 | Every SEC school’s best sport outside of football

    SDS is reaching new levels of low with this crap.

  • Track is our best sport outside of football. Check the record books Keith!

  • UGA has a dominant Womens Gymnastics program and the Equestrian program is nationally ranked most years.

  • Cannot argue with the Hogs here, Track & Field has a pretty solid history.

  • Baseball is an easy call for LSU. Not sure how anyone could miss that. We are the defending NC in golf, and finished second in gymnastics last season and are currently sitting there now as the champ for both the regular season and the conference tournament in the SEC. LSU is normally top 10 in both men’s and women’s track and field also.